28/02/2005

Belfast proposals aim to create 4,000 new jobs

The Government has unveiled proposals which will aim to create 4,000 new jobs in Belfast over the next few years.

Under the new plans, announced at the Waterfront Hall on Monday by Social Development Minister John Spellar, two large department stores could be on their way to Belfast as well as a £14 million investment aimed at renewing public footpaths and spaces in the city.

Publishing the draft regeneration masterplans for the CastleCourt and Cathedral Way/Royal Avenue areas, Mr Spellar said: "After decades of underperformance, Belfast is on the way back. These early years of the new millennium are Belfast's decade for growth and renewal. It's time to utilise the value of the land in the North East and North West of the City Centre and make that value work for Belfast.

“The masterplans identify locations for two large department stores. Retail opportunities for local independent traders as well as international brands new to the City are also on the horizon. This type of shopping will position Belfast as a major regional retail destination.

“These proposals hold the potential to deliver at least 4,000 new jobs in addition to the 3,000 at Victoria Square. These jobs will provide career opportunities for our young people and the prospect of building a better life for those who live in deprived neighbourhoods.”

Making today’s announcement Mr Spellar also set a target date for completing Laganside's regeneration by 2007.

"Laganside will reach the £1 billion investment mark by 2007 delivering 15,000 jobs and £827 million of private investment,” said the Minister.

“Laganside has performed exceptionally well and with the prospect of substantial further gains in regeneration over the next two years I consider it appropriate to continue with Laganside until 2007 to fulfil its remit.”

A specific target date of 31 March 2007 to wind-up projects in the Laganside area is being projected, he added.

(MB/SP)

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